Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Captain's Dinner: Some Details

Very Jeeves:

for dinner, Flandry wants to wear a peach tunic with white slacks but Chives insists that dark blue with gold sash is more appropriate;

Chives silently serves and leaves.


Kit, unlike Flandry, recognizes both Mendelssonhn's Violin Concerto and  the Liebestod and adds that the latter is background not for dancing but for something else.

The main import of this dinner is the conversation. See Indian Summer.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Approaching Vixen

To avoid the Ardazirho warcraft guarding Vixen, the Hooligan, engines off, plunges at meteoric velocity. She will be detected but registered as a siderite. Crossing the upper atmosphere, she hits the stratosphere. Flandry and Chives, pinned to their seats, fight to shed velocity. The ship glows red, heats the surrounding air to incandescence, strikes denser atmosphere and bounces around the planet. Reactivating the internal compensators so that there is now an artificial one gee in the ship, Flandry goes to rouse Kit who has passed out.

Looking through the viewscreens, she recognizes the Ridge, Moonstone Pass and the King's Way cutting through the Shaw, 40,000 square kilometers of tall trees, and directs Flandry to land nearby. They are down and their adventures continue tomorrow. It is after 11.30 P.M. here.

Captain's Dinner

Ansan aurea, a light dry vermouth;
egg flower soup;
Maine lobster;
Liebfraumilch '51;

Poul Anderson mainly recounts the conversation between Flandry and Kit. There are no more details about what they consume.

Sheila and I were in Boothbay Harbor in the summer of 1973 but did not eat lobster because we were both vegetarian then.

See The Food Thread.

Meditation And History

OK. Here is my latest attempt to summarize what zazen is about:

Just sitting meditation is attention to the present.
Wandering attention is returned to the present.
Just sitting is practice in awareness of the present and in letting go of the past.

In Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization:

David Falkayn lets go of the Polesotechnic League to lead the colonization of Avalon;

Nicholas van Rijn lets go of the League to lead an expedition outside known space;

Adzel and Chee Lan let go of any idea of a leisured retirement because they must prepare their peoples for the troubles to come;

if Aycharaych survives the bombardment of Chereion, then he must let go of the Chereinonite heritage;

the Merseians of the Roidhunate must let go of their plan for galactic conquest;

in the Long Night, humanity has let go of Technic Civilization;

Daven Laure must let go of the idea of marrying a Kirkasanter.

In the Time Patrol universe:

 "...I had been warned at the beginning that a Time Patrol agent's life becomes a series of farewells. I had yet to learn what that really meant." (p. 351)
-copied from here.

Old Martian? II

Those Old Martians have a lot to answer for. For captain's dinner in the Hooligan,  Kit wears a massive Old Martian silver bracelet, supplied, like her filigree tiara, by Chives. Does the original Captain Flandry series have one dimension extending into an alternative future history in which there really were Old Martians?

I noted somewhere on the blog that, in the original version of "Margin of Profit," the Martians are not yet described as colonists from outside the Solar System. Reading these Flandry stories independently of the rest of the Technic History, we would get the impression that Mars did have native inhabitants a long time ago.

Thus, Anderson indirectly alludes to an earlier tradition in sf. Arnold (see image) preceded ERB who competed with OAK (Otis Adelbert Kline, see here) and was pastiched by Michael Moorcock but, of course, there are many other famous names that we need not list yet again.

Curdled Silver

In the Hooligan, Dominic Flandry, Chives and Kit Kittredge make a thirteen day voyage from Terra to Vixen:

"There was nothing to be seen, no landscape, no weather, simply the enormous endless pageantry of changing constellations, now and then a cold nebular gleam between flashing suns, the curdled silver of the Milky Way and the clotted stars near Sagittarius."
-Poul Anderson, "Hunters of the Sky Cave" IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 149-301 AT VIII, p. 203.

Another description of the Milky Way. See above link. Space can be an environment, though. See In Space.

Barbarians Indeed

(You behold Jeeves and Wooster. See here.)

Dominic Flandry, wincing at garish color combinations in an Ardazirho kilt, comments:

"'Barbarians indeed...I hope Chives can stand the shock.'"
-Poul Anderson, "Hunters of the Sky Cave" IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 149-301 AT VII, p. 200.

I think it turns out that the Ardazirho see in different wavelengths. Be that as it may, I also think that Chives is clearly based on Jeeves.

In one scene, Jeeves admits Bingo Little to Wooster's apartment. Looking ill, he retires to the kitchen and sits down, head in hand. Wooster, concerned, follows and asks, "I say, Jeeves, are you all right?" Jeeves replies, "Excuse me, Sir. Unforgivable of me! Mr Little's tie has little horseshoes all over it!" Wooster says, "Yes, I know. Ghastly, isn't it?"

Both gentleman and valet had noticed the revolting tie. However, Jeeves is a much more sensitive soul than his social superior.


At the portal of the Crystal Moon in Jupiter orbit, Ruethen of the Long Hand says:

"'...while this log does burn upon the altar stone, peace-holy be it among us. As my tribe would say in the Cold Valleys.'"
-Poul Anderson, "Hunters of the Sky Cave" IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 149-301 AT 1, p. 155.

Observations And Questions
It is better to burn logs than animals.
Ythrian Kruaths are also "peace-holy." See here.
Is "tribe":
another word for "Vach";
a sub-division within a Vach;
some other form of Merseian social organization?
We would like to know more about the Cold Valleys on Merseia.

Tenuous Empire

Some reasons why the Terran Empire is "tenuous" were listed here. Another reason cited in "Hunters of the Sky Cave" is that, because even one planet requires a lot of government:

"...a reign over many becomes impossibly huge."
-Poul Anderson, "Hunters of the Sky Cave" IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 149-301 AT III, p. 169.

Flandry's superior, Fenross, says that Intelligence is "'...chronically undermanned...'" (p. 173)

I am sure that Anderson intended his readers to recognize Fenross' phrase as an echo of the Time Patrol whose members somewhere joke that they are chronically undermanned or understaffed although I question this proposition in relation to the Patrol:

Time Patrolmen live for centuries unless they die by accident or violence. For the period 1850-1975 (or 2000), the Patrol has head offices in London, Moscow and Peiping in 1890-1910, with smaller offices in other decades. Thus, service in all three head offices for the entirety of their existences could be just one part of a Patroller’s career. At the Academy, Everard’s class numbers about fifty. His training is completed in three months by hypnotic conditioning. The Academy exists for half a million years before being carefully demolished so that no trace of it will remain. Does this mean that the Academy can have had one hundred million graduates with indefinite life spans? They guard a million years of history and claim to be chronically understaffed.
-copied from here.

Breakfast At Biocontrol Central

filet of badjung fish, lightly fried in spiced oil;
slices of chilled coconut;
meat and baked fruits shredded in rice;
a platter of tiny omelets;
Spican cigarillos.

Dominic Flandry is the guest of Nias Warouw, director of the Guard Corps of the Planetary Biocontrol on Unan Besar. Warouw envies Flandry's galactic gastronomical experiences:

crops of Terran origin but with flavors varied enormously by soil, climate and mutation;
native foods;
different philosophies and practices of cuisine.

Just as Flandry could have wound up working for Ydwyr the Seeker if he had not escaped from Talwin, so he could have wound up working for Warouw if he had not escaped from Unan Besar. Warouw wants the shared breakfast to be a first step. He is the only competent Intelligence officer on Unan Besar but no match for Flandry.

See The Food Thread.